Wednesday’s Headlines: Ooh-Ooh That Smell Edition

Boy, the L train really stinks. No, seriously, yesterday’s non-State-of-the-Union news was dominated by the gas fumes that forced the shutdown of the most-important train line in world history. The Daily News reported that two people actually fainted, while Gothamist gave something of a station-by-station aroma guide. The Post played it straight, as did amNY. The President did not mention it in his State of the Union address, but he did lie about New York’s new abortion rights law.

Here’s the rest of the stories rocking your world:

  • Chicken, meet roost: We were pleased to see that Assembly Member William Colton was very angry about all the fatal crashes caused by drivers in his Bensonhurst/Gravesend district this week (Brooklyn Eagle), but it’s worth pointing out that there’s not a single protected or painted bike lane on any street in Colton’s Bensonhurst/Gravesend district — which is likely because people like Colton and his constituents have foolishly opposed them.
  • Good news out of Brooklyn: Drunk-driving ex-cop Nicholas Batka, who killed a pedestrian in Williamsburg in 2016 when he was still on the force, was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in the can. (Brooklyn DA, NY Post) The sentence is a fair one, of course, but it’s a wake-up call to remember how short the sentences are for most vehicular crimes — if the drivers are charged at all. (Then again, the driver who caused that fatal multi-car pileup in Manhattan last year was charged with murder, the Daily News reports.)
  • Mayor de Blasio really is persisting with this whole Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar. (WSJ)
  • The Independent Budget Office put out a report on the city’s Stipulated Fine Program, which costs taxpayers millions and allows delivery trucks to make our streets more congested and less safe. Vin Barone of amNY did a much deeper dive into the report than we did at Streetsblog (well, we were first at least!).
  • Carriage horse drivers are fighting the city’s latest plans for restricting their trade. (Courthouse News, Patch)
  • The Queens Chronicle covered last week’s pro-safety rally on Northern Boulevard with a decidedly skeptical tone that suggests the Schneps-owned paper would just prefer the status quo along the “New Boulevard of Death.”
  • If you have 10 seconds, watch the greatest sneckdown video of all time — and pressure our elected officials to actually build these things. (H/T Clarence Eckerson Jr.)
  • And, finally, in case you missed it, the Daily News’s Dan Rivoli did a story on Andy Byford’s hand-picked subway signaling expert, Pete Tomlin. Now, soapbox time: We had missed it because — it must be said — the Daily News website is horrible. Before we go to bed every night, we Google, “Dan-Rivoli NY-Daily-News,” and half his stories don’t even come up. And don’t get us started about all the pop-up ads and autoplay videos on We subscribe to the paper — yet this is how we are treated. We can’t imagine anyone beside serious news junkies putting up with such an atrocious website. Our guess is that no one at the Daily News is even reading their paper’s own website, or else there would be a line of hard-working reporters outside of Editor Robert York’s glass-walled office demanding changes.

  • Joe R.

    And don’t get us started about all the pop-up ads and autoplay videos on

    Those slow my machine to a crawl, which is why I avoid the site unless it’s the only source available. It’s disconcerting to hear all that junk isn’t at least removed for subscribers. I might understand having it for people viewing for free, but anyone paying for anything shouldn’t be subject to ads.

  • Stopsignstop

    Is this site about safe streets or the state of the news media industry? Know your role and give it a rest Gersh.

  • Larry Littlefield

    So, with less than two years to go until the latest MTA capital plan expires, where is DeBlasio’s (and Cuomo’s) “guaranteed” contribution to it?

  • The driver who got the murder charge should have just said he had a “medical episode”. Boom. Scott free. Dumbass.

  • Larry Littlefield

    A car accident can ruin your finances. has recommendations to protect yourself. Not driving isn’t on the list.

    “According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.35 million people lose their lives each year due to road accidents. Another 20 – 50 million people suffer nonfatal injuries that may lead to disabilities and lengthy hospital stays. In many cases, you’ll find that your medical and car insurance cover the cost of your treatment to a point. After that, depending on how extensive your coverage is, you might be on your own. Depending on how lengthy and costly the ensuing treatment is, you may end up owing thousands of dollars in medical bills that could ruin your finances and your credit.”

    Self driving cars provide an opportunity to shift those excess costs from health insurers and individuals to auto manufacturers. That’s what should happen.

  • kevd

    I’ll second the motion that since Gersh has been running the show around here, these have become completely unreadable.

    Check out Chicago’s headlines and look back longingly on how things used to be:

  • sbauman

    I support the motion as a Streetsblog reader.

    I assume most Streetsblog readers are sufficiently intelligent to draw their own conclusions from reading links without need for a lengthy rationale for their inclusion. I used to have confidence that Streetsblog links provided a reasonably complete summary of what’s currently on the web.

    I get the cynical view the headlines are a reflection of the editor’s ego trip than an effort to inform Streetsblog’s readers. If there are cogent pieces outside the headlines section, I think most Streetsblog readers will remember the author’s name. They won’t need a reminders.

  • Joe R.

    That’s one reason I never got a driver’s license. I just don’t want the responsibility. One moment of inattention from me or another driver can have life-changing consequences. At least on a bike the only person I can seriously hurt is myself, but even then the statistics are in my favor, despite all the hyperbole about how dangerous cycling is.

  • redbike

    Especially irritating when the editorializing is fatuous and superficial; worse when it insults our constituency (snark about the “Cone Ranger”).

  • kevd

    I’d nearly forgotten that one. It was particularly egregious – mocking the deceased for having the gall to work a poorly paid, dangerous job on our broken streets.

    Where the hell did Ben go and can he please come back?

  • sbauman

    It appears the noxious fumes situation was known for at least 24 hours before passengers became ill. Where were the new group station managers? What actions did they take or not take?

  • AMH

    “Modernizing New York’s signals is a complicated and costly project…Shutting down lines to do the work faster is also an option.”

    Shhh…don’t tell Cuomo.